It’s time for another edition of the roundtable! In each edition, our staff gets together to look at two questions about the Kansas Jayhawks that are being talked about by those who follow the program. Take a look at our answers, and then give us your own in the comments below.
Let’s talk upsets! Which Big 12 game (including KU or not) is most likely to result in a giant upset this season?
Mike: Well I guess first we have to define “giant,” don’t we? Iowa State could absolutely beat Oklahoma, but the Cyclones are a top-25 team. Or, Kansas could beat Texas. After all, we’ve already seen that happen recently. But as for “most likely” I’ll go with Kansas over West Virginia. Yeah, WVU is breaking in a new head coach and lost A LOT on offense, but they’ve got enough talent in that program that they received votes in the preseason AP Top 25 and the preseason Coaches Poll. Kansas has the opportunity to really jump them in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
David: Bedlam is always fun. Put me down for Oklahoma State taking out Oklahoma in the final regular season game for both teams. If Kansas pulls off any upsets, it’ll be so fluky there’s no way to predict which game it’ll be.
Kyle: I also like Oklahoma State, with a new offensive coordinator and some returning pieces, but to be different than David, I’ll say another top team I could see the Cowboys sneaking past: Texas. The game is early in the season (Sept. 21) where identities are still forming and sandwiched two weeks after Texas’ big, physical matchup with LSU and two weeks before the Red River Rivalry.
dnoll5: KU winning any conference game would be an upset, to me at least. I think the K-State game is the most likely for KU to upset someone. Of course, a lot can happen between now and then, and this could all be just talk, but I think that if KU can win that game, it can really establish this program as moving forward, and because of the opponent, could perhaps shift perception in state and nationally.
Andy: I don’t believe in West Virginia at all this year, as they lost a ton of talent and are breaking in a new coach. And the votes they got in each poll came from individual voters that got ripped across the conference for it. Too many people are used to West Virginia being good to realize just how much they lost. That being said, I see them taking down Texas in an early home game to bring the fanbase back from the brink. They will be a desperate team at that point.
I’ve asked this on the podcast to each of our guests previewing each conference opponent, so now it’s time to answer it for KU: Which game on the schedule will define the season? This is the one that when the season is over, you can look back and say “That told me everything I needed to know about this team.”
Mike: The correct answer is “it depends.” If KU wins its first two games, then the defining game of the season is Nov 2, at home against K-State. However, if KU loses to either Indiana State or Coastal Carolina, say sayonara to any hope for the rest of the season, and all of that fan momentum built up over the offseason will come to a crashing halt.
David: The Coastal Carolina game. Losing to Indiana State is a possibility, but teams better than Kansas have lost to ranked FCS teams. That in itself won’t tell us everything (we lost to Nicholls last year but still won 3 and nearly 4 others). But how we fare against the Chanticleers, who by most measures appear to be only very slightly worse than the Jayhawks, should say a lot, especially combined with what we do against ISU. If we win both easily, this team probably has a shot at 4 wins. If both are nailbiters, we’re likely in for a rocky season that may not feature any more wins. If we lose both...well, we all know what that would mean. I think we’ll have a pretty good idea of what this team is after two games.
Kyle: Yeah, Coastal Carolina will be a good early-season indicator. But year one under Les Miles will be judging competitiveness and progress as much as wins and loses. That means seeing if KU can do anything to close the gap with the rest of the Big 12. So let’s see how the Jayhawks fare against West Virginia and K-State, the teams picked eight and ninth in the preseason poll. I’ll go with K-State, not just because it is ninth and a rival, but it’s also later in the year, we should have a pretty good idea what this KU team is.
dnoll5: As I said for the first question, K-State is the answer. A win and a renewed emphasis on the instate “rival” is something that has been missing from KU football. KU has kept this game kind of close over the last few seasons and a win would get the momentum going for the 2020 season, the first one that we can really hold the current coaches and players to account.
Andy: I am going to go with the conference opener against West Virginia. I think there is enough uncertainty going into the season that we could reasonably expect pretty much any results in the first 3 games, but once we get to conference play, we should be settled in enough to get a good idea of how competitive to team is going to be.